But an international relocation will come with paperwork. If you’re lucky, your company will take care of most of the application process for you, including things like work visas and permits. However, this isn’t always the case. Here is a rough breakdown of what you can expect from the relocation and immigration process.
Moving To a New Country
Traveling to a new country usually just requires that you have a passport and any other proper identification paperwork. Because countries want people to come visit for a short while (and spend their money while they do), most people can stay for up to 90 days without a visa.
If you plan to stay longer than a few months, if you’re going to rent and/or buy property, or if you’re going to work in the country, then a work permit or resident visa will most likely be required. Every country approaches this process differently, so you’ll need to contact the country’s embassy to see what steps are required.
In addition, there is almost always a time limit on this type of permit, so it’s important to stay current on your visas. You may also have to get a re-entry permit if you plan to travel in and out of the country (whether for work or for pleasure). Be aware that regular travel over the borders can be a red flag to officials; having the proper permits will smooth your way.
Moving Back Home
There may come a time when your relocation ends or you’re ready to move back to the United States. If you’re a U.S. citizen (and you maintained that citizenship all throughout your relocation), you can typically come back when you’re ready. As long as you’ve stayed current with your passport, international work visas, and taxes, expatriates tend to be able to come and go as they wish.
However, if you are only a permanent resident and you have been abroad for more than a year, you may need to re-establish your standing with a returning resident visa. This process requires that you work with the U.S. embassy, so be in contact early and often to avoid setbacks.
These are just the logistics of relocating and immigrating. In addition to the paperwork side of things, there are financial considerations, physical considerations (moving all your belongings) and emotional considerations (adapting to your new surroundings) to account for. That’s why it’s always a good idea to work with professionals who specialize in making the transition—both to and from the United States—easy.